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Old 02-23-2014, 11:02 AM   #15
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Motor homes and generators need to run to stay in shape. The lower miles and low hours means the equipment has not been used much which is bad. Generators are supposed to be "exercised" every month. Units with low mileage and low hours have the potential for big problems.
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Old 02-23-2014, 11:06 AM   #16
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Great advice, thanks! I'm just confused about the generator hours and the mileage. I always thought low hours / low mileage was what we should look for in a coach. What is considered too low and why? Can you give us more insight into your suggestion? Again, thanks so much!
The generator manufacturers recommend that the generators be run a minimum of 2 hours per month with at least 50% load. This is to heat up the windings and force moisture out. Also it keeps all the engine internals bathed in oil. If the coach is 10 years old, if proper maintenance was followed, the generator should have 240 hours minimum. 24 hours per year times 10 years. These generators are workhorses......many are still running strong after more than 5000 hours.
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Old 02-23-2014, 12:37 PM   #17
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Hi CWinLV,
The low mileage and low generator hours could mean a + or a -. Too many members make general comments that may or may not apply.

Low mileage could mean the coach was in storage, not used and neglected. It could also mean the owner was a full timer, stayed in one place for many months at a time and maintained the coach according to the manufacturers instructions.

Low generator hours could mean the generator was not used regularly and not given the chance to exercise itself according to the manufactures recommendation. It could also mean the generator was run occasionally, brought up to operating temperature, put under load and maintained according to the manufacturers instructions.

Unless the maintenance records are available, much of the above mentioned items will remain a mystery.

What you can do is:
1. make sure the floor plan meets your requirements
2. make sure the vehicle will carry all of you and all your stuff. GVWR minus Unloaded Weight Rating provides the cargo carrying capacity (CCC).
3. make sure the coach will tow what you want to tow. GCWR minus GVWR gives the weight of what you can tow.
4. Check the hitch/receiver weight rating. This will also provide the weight you can tow. Towing weight is #3 or #4 whichever is less.

This is the important part. After the above mentioned items are okay, one can make the decision as complicated as one wants. Sometimes it is enough to drive one crazy.
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Old 02-23-2014, 01:19 PM   #18
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How are you enjoying that Monaco?
Quite well although we have only been living in it for three months. Most of our attention has been to upgrading the electronics. Older units have older equipment and adding newer stuff can be problematic. TV' s don't fit exactly in the space of the old ones, the coax wiring is limited and no HDMI, satellite systems that were state of the art in 05 are barely functional now, especially if HD is your need. The Monaco with is Aladdin system is nice but not being produced anymore. Trying to replace or interface things such as a newer ATS and keep the system require some planning. We find the build quality of the coach to be very good and should last us quite awhile. We anticipate system and appliance repairs but factored those costs into our decision.
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:41 PM   #19
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I spent $4500.00 to start FT in. Enjoy it no matter what you get. Ours is 32 years old and has one of those Gennie's with 260 hr Sorry guys. Since we have had it, I do run it with a load monthly. I stared it when it was -20 a few weeks ago right along with the MH. I have 2-1300w heaters. I ran 1 on low and the other on high otherwise it tripped the breaker.
I bet you find a real nice MH for 130. Are you thinking gas or Diesel? When we upgrade (hopefully) I will stick to gas unless the Diesel prices drop.
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:29 PM   #20
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Thanks for all the great replies and info. Unfortunately, I think I'm more confused than ever, now. All the things I THOUGHT we should be looking for (low mileage, low generator hours, etc), are just the opposite.

More questions! If low mileage on a unit isn't good, how many miles should be on a 10 yr old unit? Are we looking for an average of say 10,000 a year? Less? More? I suppose detailed maintenance records would be best, but if they aren't available, what other kinds of things should we look for that indicate the unit has been serviced regularly and well maintained (aside from a good appearance)? What kind of things did you look for when buying your unit?

Boy, the learning never ends and I'm finding we'd better do a LOT more research before pulling the trigger on any unit!
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:18 AM   #21
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I wouldn't be too put off by low mileage or low gen hours, but it would be the focus of a little extra attention? A coach that's been parked "on site" and not driven much could still check out really well! It just means you need to focus your attention a little differently. Assuming a 20 year old low hour gen set is junk could be a huge mistake if it works fine? Same case with a low mileage older coach. It's not automatically junk, it just needs to be checked over carefully - though it's pretty safe to assume you're going to need to bring the maintenance up to date, schedules and non scheduled. Not many will be changing the engine oil on a coach that isn't being driven regularly.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:37 AM   #22
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In 2010 we purchased a 2000 Newmar Dutch Star Diesel and went full time. Here we are 4yrs. later and still going. Since buying it we've done some remodeling inside to make it more livable to fit us. Since the previous owner took great care of it, and we have all the maint. records, REALLY IMPORTANT, we felt really good about hitting the road. I've had some nit picky things I've had to take care of, but the only major thing to go wrong was a fuel pump that went bad in of all places Destruction Bay, Yukon Territory. But we look at it as all part of the adventure. We've been coast to coast, border to border, and to Alaska, and we still have many more miles to go before we hang it up. Just do your due diligence, and stay patient, and you'll find the right coach for you.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:46 AM   #23
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I wouldn't be too put off by low mileage or low gen hours, but it would be the focus of a little extra attention? A coach that's been parked "on site" and not driven much could still check out really well! It just means you need to focus your attention a little differently. Assuming a 20 year old low hour gen set is junk could be a huge mistake if it works fine? Same case with a low mileage older coach. It's not automatically junk, it just needs to be checked over carefully - though it's pretty safe to assume you're going to need to bring the maintenance up to date, schedules and non scheduled. Not many will be changing the engine oil on a coach that isn't being driven regularly.
Just like Al says! It's a little difficult to say what the correct/best miles might be since a motorhome is not used like a car. A good odometer reading on a car is roughly 10K/year ... I would guess 4K to 5K/year would be about right but I wouldn't rule out any coach with 100K miles. BTW, i think we are assuming diesel. As Gary has said, tough to pick a good number ... especially since location of coach is a factor. I have a Florida coach and it has sun damage to the exterior ... but the underside looks like new because it has never seen snow/salted roads.

I wouldn't eliminate any coach strictly by mileage ... but, I wouldn't pay extra either ...
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:50 AM   #24
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when I bought mine I was looking for low mileage and hrs. on gen. found one with both and have had no issues with either. the more mileage the more twisting and vibration of house. every time it twist something has to give. very happy with what I did. jmho
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Old 02-25-2014, 09:22 AM   #25
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Would someone clarify the gentleman's comment that low generator hours and low mileage can be problematic? I thought that was what we are looking for! I'm confused...
It simply means that the MH has sat for a really long part of it's life. That is not a good thing unless you plan to spend a lot of money changing all the soft parts before you even start it up. Motors, especially diesels do not like to sit for long periods of time.
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Old 02-25-2014, 10:10 AM   #26
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A fear of 'low hours' may or may not be warranted. A generator used a few times a year but regularly will probably be fine while a generator that was used a lot initially (thus having the same number of total running hours as the prior example) and then sat for several years may well have problems. The usage pattern is just as if not more important than the simple number of hours figure.
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Old 02-25-2014, 12:06 PM   #27
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CWwinLV - When we looked 4 1/2 years ago I spent over a year doing research. My head was definitely spinning at various points. However we had been RVing since 1980 and had owned a coach before, and even with all that it is still a lot of work to find the right coach. But in the end getting what you want/need is worth the effort.

Of course you want the coach to be in as good a condition as possible. Some items like upholstery, drivers chair, and carpets like as little use as possible to be in the best condition. And quality and durability of materials in these areas is very important. But many parts of a motorhome need use to keep them in good shape. This is not just the main drive and generator, but also rubber seals. Slide seals must be used regularly or they may get damaged. And batteries must be kept charged or they will be ruined. Tires need to be used regularly or they will dry out. Disk and drum metal brake parts need to be used or they rust up.

Diesel main motors and diesel generators have a very long life if used regularly and properly maintained. Motorhomes get what is called "lot rot" if they sit for a long time waiting to be sold. One of my very close RV friends bought a brand new Newmar Dutch Star about 2007. It had been sitting unused or test driven for 18 months. He bought it. And it took him two years to get the problems out of it. Newmar fixed everything on warranty, but still a PITA. He still has the coach and still likes it.

When you do not use a motor regularly the inside of the cylinder walls can tarnish and you get wear there when you start up as well as other places in the motor. Fuel can solidify if it sits too long. The electrical part of generators get moisture in them when not used regularly and things can rust.

Best coaches are ones who have had picky former owners who fixed things when they went off and used his coach regularly. The worst is a former owner who bought the coach and let it sits for many months at a time plus let things go when they broke. Or a widow or widower who has to wait 3 years to bring themselves to sell the coach after their spouse died. In the meantime it sat unused in the back yard for 3 years. And three colonies of ground squirrels, chipmunks, and mice have been using the coach as food and a hotel. Mice like to eat electrical wire insulation. But it has 5,000 miles on it so the seller wants top dollar.

If you work through a dealer make sure you get a knowledgeable sales person who wants to actually help you get a good coach. These kind of people exist. I have met some.

But keep reading this forum and keep learning before you spend money.

BTW - Arizona is a good source for lots of used coaches as many snowbirds winter there. Check Craigs List, eBay, RVTraderonline, RVSearch. Usually if a seller is listing at RVTrader, eBay, and Craigs list they really want to sell.

Also, for a full time coach make sure you get the best insulation you can. Double windows are a must. 40' or longer coaches in Las Vegas or Arizona temps over 100 likely need 3 airs on top.

Enjoy shopping. Leave your checkbook at home for the first 8 test drives.
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Old 02-25-2014, 04:59 PM   #28
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Leave your checkbook at home for the first 8 test drives.
Now that's probably some good advice right there.
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